Photo shoot days are my favorite days. It’s the time when everything we’ve been working on comes together. I love getting to style the looks to complete the vision.
We kept our crew extra tight this year to keep everyone safe – just family plus our lead interior designer, Audrey, who also doubled as a model this day.
Being a small business we all wear multiple hats and this day was no exception. Jana was our photographer, but she still had to keep the interior side of the business moving.
Our niece and PR guru, Kourtney, was on set taking care of multiple projects, assisting with photography, lighting, and styling and keeping everyone on track. Our niece Kayla was make-up and hair artist as well as a model.
Jana’s daughter Isla likes to get in on the modeling action and is a natural!
By early evening the rest of the family was spilling in and my son Drew played guitar as we finished up our day.
From our family to yours – We hope you have a great Spring season! To check out our full Spring ’21 Lookbook, visit nestjewelry.com. And use code SPRING to shop our styles with free shipping!
It’s the time of year that our calendars get filled with gatherings, parties and get-togethers. Some of these are planned and some get sprung on us last minute. To be prepared for whatever comes my way, I keep the ingredients for my Pimiento Party Dip stocked in my fridge. This dip is so quick and easy to make that it can be whipped up in a moment’s notice if an unexpected guest pops by.
Note of caution: this dip is known to make your guests come back for more so don’t feed it to anyone you don’t want to see again 🙂
Since I began making this my friends now come over with dip expectations so I better not run out!
Pimiento Party Dip is simple so each ingredient is key to its flavor. You must buy a good quality cheese to begin with. The brand 365 is the only shredded cheese I will buy because it tastes freshly shredded. Many times you will find that the packaged shredded cheese has a coating on it. This will not taste the best. If you cannot find the 365 cheese I suggest you buying blocked cheese and shred it yourself.
The other super important ingredient is the mayonnaise. Mr. Kensington’s Organic Mayonnaise will change your thoughts on all other brands of mayonnaise. I also really like their avocado mayonnaise and will use it interchangeably depending on what’s in my fridge at the moment. I buy all of this at Whole Foods but if you don’t have Whole Foods it’s worth finding, you will thank me.
I begin with adding equal parts sharp cheddar shredded cheese and Monterey jack cheese to a large bowl. In these pictures I used an entire bag of each. I previously made smaller batches but stopped doing that because it’s nice to keep the leftovers in the fridge for snacking.
Next I added 5-6 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise. As you get all the ingredients stirred together you can add more if you feel like. I always wait until the end to tweak it because you don’t want it to get too soggy.
Then I finely mince 4-5 slices of pickled jalapeños. This does not add a lot of heat but it adds amazing flavor. If you like it spicy then by all means add more!
I also like to pour a bit of the jalapeño juice to get that great flavor evenly distributed in the dip. I use about 2 tablespoons.
(If any of you don’t like spice at all you can omit the jalapeños and just add the same amount of juice from the pimientos.)
Next, I like to rough chop the pimientos so each delicious bite of dip will be sure to have one. When I first made this recipe I was trying to cut corners so I didn’t chop the pimientos. I found myself digging out the bites of dip that had pimientos and leaving the rest behind. To avoid having pimiento dip without pimientos we are going to take that extra 30 seconds and chop. It’s worth it.
After you add the CHOPPED pimientos to the bowl you can stir it until evenly mixed. I love that it has all the colors of Christmas represented.
After it is all mixed really well I add my secret ingredient. I have made the dip with and without this secret ingredient and although it is still quite delicious without, it is mind blowing with.
And this secret ingredient is……..Dill
The dill adds a complexity that just takes it over the top, not to mention it looks really pretty.
Now that we have the dip made we need a cracker to dip it. Sweet potato crackers are THE perfect pairing. I have tried other substitutes and it just will not do. I find these at Costco.
So now that I have made myself hungry, I am off to the store to pick up all the below ingredients. My family will be so happy!
Fall has officially settled upon us but I am having trouble getting in the spirit. I live in Houston and it’s still a solid 90 degrees with high humidity. But today was grocery shopping day and as I walk into Whole Foods you could hardly miss the pumpkins, mums, and every kind of pumpkin flavored food you could imagine. By the end of my weekly stock up I decided if you can’t beat ‘em…. join ‘em! On one of the many pumpkin filled end caps I saw some pumpkin spiced apple cider and decided there was no better way to get into the spirit than by drinking some spirits –so here I go at my first attempt of a new Fall cocktail!
It all started with this inspiring Pumpkin Spiced Apple Cider; however, the thought of sipping a warm drink in this heat is definitely not appealing – so we will be making a pumpkin spice martini.
To tell you a little bit more about myself, I love to cook and I love to make cocktails but I HATE to measure or follow recipes. It takes all the creative fun out of it, so we are going to learn to wing it together. Trust me you will enjoy it so much more! Don’t be scared, I’m with you all the way.
Fill your glass full of ice. This is very important. When you shake it in the shaker you want to be sure it gets really cold. Then fill the glass half way with a nice Kentucky Bourbon.
Next, add a couple good splashes of Grand Marnier. I would guess it is about a jigger full. You could do a little less if you don’t like your drinks too sweet. Liqueurs have a high sugar content so you can always tweak your drinks to be more or less sweet with the amount of liqueur.
Then you top your glass off with the Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider.
Toss this all in the shaker and add a sprinkle of brown sugar, ¼ of a fresh squeezed lemon and 10-15 drops of bitters to finish it off. Now shake what your momma gave ya. The more you shake it the better it gets, (and the more fun you will have!) By the time you quit singing “Shake shake shake, Shake shake shake, Shake your booty” your drink is done!
As with most things in life, presentation is everything! Have some fun here. I like my guests to have an idea of what they are going to drink just by looking at the cocktail. So to achieve this I would like to rim the glass with brown sugar.
I poured some of the cider in a saucer so I could wet the edges of the glass. Next I rolled it in the brown sugar.
I think it would also be really cute to use a cinnamon stick but I didn’t have any and wasn’t about to go back to the store. Just one more reason I don’t use recipes – whatever you have is what you use – and it’s just perfect.
Voile! Pumpkin Spice Martini.
Pumpkin Spice Apple Cider
Maker’s Mark (or other good whisky)
Grand Marnier (I suggest you not substitute this – the flavor really changes with other orange liquors)
Brown Sugar (for the drink and to rim the glass)
Apple Slices (for garnish and to snack on while you are mixing your cocktail)
January is the perfect time to focus on yourself after the busy holiday season. My daily routine would not be complete without Aura Soma Pomanders. These beautiful, colorful bottles are each mixed with a combination of essential oils and crystals to bring you balance and clear your energetic field. It’s like a mini spa treatment that you can easily do any time of day. These are great gifts for young and old, male or female and especially for that “hard to buy for” person on your list.
Pomanders are offered in larger, individual bottles or there is a handy travel set that can easily fit into your purse or backpack. The small bottles can go through security at the airport, which is a plus because we can all use a nice refresher while traveling.
You can also clear the air in your home or office with Pomander Room Sprays. These are great to set the tone of a space or refresh a room. For example, if you are having a meeting at work that needs some added creativity, use the turquoise spray. Or, if you need to clear negative energy use the magenta spray. It’s fun to play around with the various colors to see how the mood changes. Want a passionate night? Try infusing the room with sprays of the red colors.
How they work:
Each bottle gets its color from the crystal energies that are inside, so each bottle has different healing properties. For example, the white clears negative energies and the red gives you energy, while the pink helps facilitate unconditional love for yourself and others. Yellow can help if you are feeling fearful or nauseous and turquois blue helps you to communicate your feelings. The good news is that you don’t have to know what each bottle means, you simply just use what you are drawn to. Don’t over think it. Trust your instinct.
How to use the Pomanders:
Select the color that speaks to you. Once you have chosen a color, pump three sprays onto the palm of your hand. Keeping your hands just a few inches away from your body, start at the top of your head and work your way down your entire body as though you are “washing” your aura. When you get to your feet, pull both arms up over your head then finally in front of your nose where you will inhale three times. You will feel the shift in your energy, leaving you more balanced and refreshed. This is just a guide to get you started but feel free to play around with it.
Refresh, Rebalance, and Replenish your energies with these beautiful Pomanders!
Make an even MERRIER ‘Gin-N-Tonic’
Try this Rosemary twist on a regular Gin and Tonic for the holiday season!
Garnish it with a sprig of Rosemary and every sip you take smells like you are in the middle of a snowy forrest cutting down your very own Christmas Tree. I suggest adding dried cranberries to the sprig for pop of festive color (and a little snack).
Here’s my favorite ingredients for THE best G-N-T:
- The Gin Factory – Natural Botanicals Rosemary Gin
- Spectacular Tonic Water
- 1/2 Lime Squeezed Fresh
- Garnish: Fresh Rosemary Sprig and Dried Cranberries
Have a happy holiday and ENJOY!
Guilt-free baked goods…what could be better? These muffins have more protein than conventional breakfast pastries, less carbs, no gluten and they still have all the flavor! These are my go-to on busy mornings. I don’t enjoy baking if it’s overly complicated so I have narrowed down the recipe to just a few ingredients. I had the recipe memorized after making them just a few times and I can whip them up in less than five minutes. A quick tip to cut down on dishes is to only use “1 cup” and “1 teaspoon” to measure and just eyeball it. I fill up the measuring cup halfway with oil and then top it off with the maple syrup. Easy peasy!
2 cups of almond flour
1-teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of frozen organic blueberries
3 organic eggs
1/2 cup of organic coconut oil (liquid)
1/2 cup of organic maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place paper liners in each cup of the muffin tin.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well. Then, add the blueberries.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup and lemon zest. Mix well.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until combined.
Fill up each paper-lined cup three quarters of the way with the mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes.
You can eat them hot, right out of the oven but they will stick to the paper liner. If you allow them to cool then they will peel away easily. You can also substitute the blueberries with cranberries. Bon Appétit!
After indulging over the holidays, my body is in need of some clean eating. This Clean Coconut Soup is the best for getting back on track. It has all the necessary flavors of spicy, salty, sour, and bitter to tantalize the taste buds. When anyone in my house is feeling under the weather this is my go-to soup. I swear by it. The best part is that it’s super easy to make and you can modify the ingredients based on what you have in your pantry. Sticking to rules ruins creativity so make it your own!
First, I went and picked some lemongrass from my back patio. If you enjoy Thai food I suggest you plant this in your garden immediately. Or, you can plant it in a pot like I did. Lemongrass is super easy to keep alive for those of you who don’t have a “green thumb” and looks great as a decoration.
Some people dry and eat the leaves. I find them too stringy so I only use the root end.
Then, I quickly pick a lime or two from my lime tree and head inside to start cooking.
I suggest using organic products. They’ll taste better, have more nutrition and you don’t have to worry about contaminates that could be harmful to your body. Also, you don’t need to measure out these ingredients. Getting somewhere close will do the trick!
2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1-2 cans of coconut milk, depending on how creamy or broth based you want it (I suggest you don’t get the ‘reduced fat’ because this is a good fat that your body needs and it tastes better!)
1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil – just enough to cook the chicken
1 box of chicken or vegetable stock
Thai red curry paste – 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons (varying for spice)
I white onion – chopped into large 1-inch pieces
1 large tomato – chopped into large 1-inch pieces
1-2 limes depending hour sour you like it
2 garlic cloves, minced- this is essential if you aren’t feeling well
A few slices of freshly peeled ginger root
Thai basil (or regular basil if you can’t find it)- handful, roughly chopped
Kefir lime leaves (or regular lime leaves) – use them like you would a bay leaf, don’t eat them. I like to add 3-4. You should be able to find them in the spice section of your grocery store.
2 tablespoons of fish sauce – this is what gives it a nice salty taste
2 pieces of lemongrass roots – you will not eat this either, just smash it up a bit to release the flavors and throw it in the pot
1 package of baby belle mushrooms – handful, cut in fourths
Cilantro – handful, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 organic chicken bullion cube for more of a rich flavor and yellow color (optional)
Heat coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken and add it to the pot. Stir until cooked thoroughly. Add the minced garlic and stir approximately one minute. Don’t let the garlic burn. Next, add the chicken/vegetable stock and coconut milk. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
Cook at least 20-30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft. You can serve immediately but the flavor is much better if you allow it to sit overnight and reheat the following day. We have so many flavors here that the longer they combine the better.
It’s hard for me to wait to eat it but I do always like the leftovers the following day much better. Make sure you leave any ingredients that you aren’t going to eat (i.e. Kefir lime leaves, lemongrass) in the pot to continue to flavor the liquid.
Give it a try and let me know how you like it!
A Different Way To Do The Holidays
I love the movie ‘The Grinch’ starring Jim Carey. When I say love, I mean I can nearly recite the entire masterpiece by heart. This Christmas season I ask you, using the famous words of Cindy Lou Who, “Is it all a bit superfluous?” Several years ago I found myself up to my elf ears in Christmas cards, shopping lists, cookie exchanges, and completely stressed about buying gifts for my extended family. I decided it was time to let some traditions and expectations retire to a long winter’s nap. I suggested that instead of getting presents for each other, we go on a trip! Everyone was thrilled with the idea and we headed down to Costa Rica for a Christmas getaway that we still talk about today. Now our entire family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and sometimes even the dog) takes a vacation together at least once a year. We still have a lovely Christmas with our immediate families, complete with good food, wine and lots of laughter. We just took the pressures of gift giving off of our shoulders and replaced it with quality time and new adventures. This season I challenge you to think outside the beautifully gift wrapped box and decide for yourself what this holiday means to you. What changes could bring you the most yuletide cheer?
This ‘Citrus’ Deal is SWEET!
Unless you are an avid gardener and overall lover of food like me, you may not realize that now is the season of citrus. The limbs of my fruit trees are drooping from the weight of all the gorgeous mandarins, limes and lemons. We should all take full advantage of this “sweet” time of year with one of my favorite drink recipes. There’s no better way to enjoy the fruits of your labor!
3 oz. pure 100% agave tequila – I prefer Patron
1 Fresh squeezed organic lime juice to taste
½ Fresh squeezed organic mandarin juice to taste
½ oz. Cointreau Orange liqueur
Put it all in shaker with ice and shake vigorously, then strain into a glass with fresh ice and garnish with a citrus slice of your choice. It will look as good as it tastes.
We want to share our excitement over this liquid heaven with you! Now through November enjoy 10% off your entire order on our website. Coupon code: CITRUS .